Young women are not as enthusiastic as older women are about Hillary Clinton because they just don’t care enough about the abortion issue, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in an interview with The New York Times.
The Florida congresswoman also asserted that she’s been on the receiving end of harsh criticism over her leadership style because she’s a woman.
One of the themes of the Democratic primary race so far is the support among young voters for Clinton’s main Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders . But in addition to the generational divide is a gender disparity. More young women are supporting Sanders than are supporting Clinton.
According to a poll released last month by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, 40 percent of women aged 18 to 29 support the 73-year-old Sanders. Thirty-eight said they support Clinton. The gender-generation gap was also the subject of a New York Times article published last month.
Asked to explain that gap, Wasserman Schultz implied that since younger women did not come of age during the most contentious battles surrounding the abortion issue, they are less likely to vote for Clinton, an outspoken pro-abortion proponent.“Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided,” Wasserman Schultz told The Times.
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the right to privacy extended to a woman’s choice to have an abortion. The ruling effectively legalized abortion throughout the U.S. and touched off a bitter debate between pro-abortion and pro-life camps.
Like Clinton and a vast majority of Democrats, Wasserman Schultz is staunchly pro-abortion — a result of not just ideology but also the massive monetary support that pro-abortion groups funnel to the Democratic party and its candidates.
But the party leader’s assertion that younger women are just not supportive enough of more abortions is not the only comment from the interview that is likely to generate controversy.
She also took a veiled shot at her fellow Democrats when asked whether she believes the criticism laid out against her — that she is too ambitious, that she makes decisions on her own, and that she plays one side against another — is sexist in nature.
“The politically safe thing to say would be: ‘No. Of course not,'” Wasserman Schultz said when asked about sexism.
But she added: “I don’t usually see sexism around every corner, but the criticism I’ve noticed of me over the past couple of years has absolutely zeroed in on qualities that, for a man, wouldn’t even be considered fodder for criticism.”
While Wasserman Schultz does not call out her critics by name, most of the criticism about her leadership has come from within her own party.
Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who are both challenging Clinton for the Democratic nomination, have lamented that Wasserman Schultz has refused to hold more debates. Many Democrats have complained that the six debates sanctioned by the DNC are part of an effort to ensure that Clinton wins the party nomination.
And one of those who has hit Wasserman Schultz the hardest on the issue is Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard , a DNC vice chair. Gabbard has publicly asserted that Wasserman Schultz unilaterally decided to limit the number of debates.